Upon its 1990 NES release, Super Mario Bros. 3 flew in on the P-wings of critical raves, intense popular demand, and the most sophisticated marketing campaign Nintendo of America had ever attempted. Shigeru Miyamoto's ultimate 8-bit platformer lived up to all the hype and elevated Mario from mascot to icon. But what exactly made this game the phenomenon it was?
With the help of her friends and family, critics inside and outside the realm of gaming, and former Nintendo of America employees, Alyse Knorr traverses the Mushroom World looking for answers. Along the way, Knorr unearths SMB3's connections to theater and Japanese folklore, investigates her own princess-rescuing impulses, and examines how the game's animal costumes, themed worlds, tight controls, goofy enemies, and memorable music cohere in a game that solidified Mario's conquest of the NES era.
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Alyse Knorr teaches at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is the author of two books and two chapbooks of poetry. She received her MFA from George Mason University and serves as a co-founding editor of Gazing Grain Press. Visit her at www.alyseknorr.com.